01 January 2010


Some beautiful examples of vintage embroidery can be found on monogrammed linens. It was very popular in the 1940s to embroider ones initials onto household linen—dinner napkins, sheets, and towels, and also onto handkerchiefs. This was done in two basic styles—tiny cross stitch (often done in redwork) and satin stitch (often in white on white or a pale color like light blue or pink). Some examples of monograms:

A redwork towel with monogram "MO" done in tiny cross stitch:

cross stitch redwork
Cynthia's Antiques and Linens

An elaborately-embroidered handkerchief with the letter "H" surrounded by scrolls:

H hanky
DeWitt and Co.

A light blue elaborate script letter "L" done in satin stitch:

monogram "L"

A monogram "G" done in a combination of stitches—outline, french knots and lazy-daisy:

monogram "G"

A two letter monogram done in a chunkier style. I believe this is done in tiny closely-spaced chain or Pekinese stitch:

linen sheet

You probably noticed that some of my examples are from Ebay and that's a great place to find monogrammed linens, either to just look at examples or to buy some for yourself. Search for "French linen sheets" and you'll find beautifully-embroidered linen sheets with monograms done in both cross and satin stitches.

Em's Heart has some lovely linens and handkerchiefs for sale.

Cynthia's Antiques and Linens has beautiful linens for sale including many towels and handkerchiefs with monograms.

Some of my fellow craft bloggers have done posts about monograms. See Redwork in Germany's post Vintage Monogram Stencils. And from Kimberly at Niesz Vintage Home, monogrammed linens with tons of pictures of things in her collection.

To read more about the history of monograms see Monograms & More and Love Those Letters at Embroideryarts.com

And finally, some free online patterns for monograms—

Two sets of large initials that you can cross stitch on a variety of projects.

Some designs with roses.

A vintage linen handkerchief pattern.

And do check older needlework books at your local library—many of them will have alphabets that you can adapt to your work.

1 comment:

Cath @ chunkychooky said...

I am just starting out eith stitching and these are so beautiful.